State of Northampton – Not Our Fault say Conservatives?
It is not only sensible but necessary to now and again revisit issues and especially something as fundamental as the cleanliness of where we live and even more so if those accountable refuse to accept responsibility.
Out and about in Bellinge, Ecton Brook and Rectory Farm yesterday morning I started to wonder along with the many dissatisfied residents just what did happen to the Conservatives promise “we will keep our neighbourhoods clean” and help people to be proud of where they live?
The latest Northampton Borough Councils performance on delivering environment service speaks volume if only for highlighting the consistent and systematic failure to deliver what the taxpayer’s of Northampton are paying for.
In fact it reveals that Northampton taxpayers are now receiving an even poorer service than under the 2007 -2011 Lib Dem administration which is not an achievement to be proud of.
What the Conservatives and especially the Cabinet member and his assistant cabinet member responsible for the management and delivery of the waste and environment services have demonstrated time and time again is a total unwillingness to accept what the people of Northampton have been saying – that the Borough is a mess.
Northampton Labour has consistently challenged the Leader of the Council who had responsibility for the implementation of the contract and the Deputy Leader of the Council, who is the Cabinet member responsible about the ongoing problems with missed collections, incorrect information being sent out to households and the general deterioration of standards across the whole of the Borough.
The challenges have at best been ignored and at worse dismissed as according to a recent statement by Cllr Mackintosh the Labour party “talking Northampton down”.
It is a statement that shows the sheer complacency and arrogance about his administration’s failure to deliver and worse still shows a contempt and utter disregard for the residents of Northampton who it appears if the Tories are to be believed only complain to Labour and never to Conservative Councillors.
Which begs the question where are the Conservative councillors?
It isn’t Labour highlighting the problems the taxpayer’s are facing who are letting Northampton down but those who have chosen to hide their heads in the sand preferring instead to take an “it’s not our fault” approach,
Understandable!! – After all they are only the administration.
The problem with the Conservatives approach is that in failing to deliver not only waste collections being collected on time but cutting back on litter picking, the provision dog waste bins, the number of times the grass is cut and clearing hedge growth from pavements they are sending out a message that “It’s not important and we don’t care”.
The result is that fly tipping has increased across Northampton to an extent that it is now sometimes difficult because of the contract failures to distinguish between what is fly tipping and what is just missed collections.
Councillor Mackintosh may wish to accuse Labour of talking the town down but it is the Borough Council who provide the evidence on the failing performance that highlights the problems, and it took a damning independent report that only came about because of pressure from the Labour group which confirmed that what we and residents were saying was true before he and his colleagues took action.
The report itself of course was paid for by the taxpayer and along with many other issues highlighted for example that the Borough Council and Enterprise couldn’t even agree on the fundamental definition of what was classified as a ‘missed bin’
There is of course no excuse for people fly tipping or putting their rubbish out before the day of collection,
But and it is a big but,
If the collection of waste continues to be as erratic as they are in some areas when do residents put their rubbish out?
Last year I reported over 600 cases of fly tipping in my local area and following complaints from residents who are fed up of living with the mess and weekly walks around the area already reported over 300 cases since the beginning of December to date.
If following up and supporting residents who want action to clean up their neighbourhoods is ‘talking the town down’ then I stand guilty as charged.
It is perhaps time for the Northampton Conservatives to get a grip of the problem, and clean the Borough up.
If they do then and I will be only too happy as will my Northampton Labour colleagues and the residents to give them the credit.
Until that happens I’m afraid that those who coveted and were so desperate to fill the positions they now hold will have to accept the criticism for their failure to deliver and stop trying to pass the blame on to others which is a sign of the fundamental leadership deficit at the Borough Council.